Archive - 2012

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Sequestration: How might Peace Corps be impacted?
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Country Impact Studies available online
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November 2012 — New books by Peace Corps writers
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U.S News & World Report: How the Peace Corps Benefits Diplomatic Security
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Review of Roland Merullo's (Micronesia 1979-80) Lunch with Buddha
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Coyne Babbles On TV About Christmas In The Peace Corps
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A new name in the Peace Corps Director sweepstakes!
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Mark Gearan, Former PC/D, Signs College Presidents Letter For Stricter Gun Laws
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Next Peace Corps Director Sweepstakes!
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Secretary of State & Friend of The Peace Corps

Sequestration: How might Peace Corps be impacted?

On October 2, 2012, the Congressional Research Service published a report entitled“Peace Corps Issues”. The potential impact to Peace Corps of sequestration was discussed. From the report: Also, pending sequestration would likely severely cut the current Peace Corps funding level. On September 14, 2012, the Office of Management and Budget issued its report on possible sequestration actions that might be taken on January 2, 2013,if  requirements of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) are not met. Under sequestration,the Peace Corps budget would possibly be cut by 8.2%, or about $31 million. This statement may be altered by directives from the Office of Budget and Management or other policy mandates, if sequestration actually goes into effect.  It is hoped that in that unfortunate event, Peace Corps will post on its official website the actual changes that will happen. A FOIA request is pending asking for those potential changes, but it is . . .

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Country Impact Studies available online

The Peace Corps Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2012  Annual Report (PAR) FY 2012 is as ponderous to read as any government report.  However, it does have some gems.  Here is one: Over the last four years, Peace Corps has conducted a series of Host Country Impact Studies that contribute to Peace Corps’ ability to measure the impact of its Volunteers. The studies are unique in that they focus on learning about the Volunteers’ impact from the host country nationals who lived and worked with the Volunteers. The in-country field work is conducted by local research teams. The studies demonstrate the Volunteers’ ability to build local capacity and illustrate the transformation in host country nationals’ understanding of Americans after working with a Volunteer. The reports and summary information sheets for each study are posted below. Armenia (PDF) / Armenia Summary (PDF) Bulgaria (PDF) / Bulgaria Summary (PDF) Burkina . . .

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November 2012 — New books by Peace Corps writers

To order books whose titles are in blue from Amazon, click on the title or book cover — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that will help support our annual writers’ awards. • Somalia: Short Fiction by Martin R. Ganzglass (Somalia 1966–68) $7.99 (paperback); $2.99 (Kindle) 356 pages July 2012 • The Marble Room: How I Lost God and Found Myself in Africa by Bill Hatcher (Tanzania 1994–96) Lantern Books $18.00 (paperback); $8.99 (Kindle) 278 pages November 2012 • Dr. Dark (Novel) by Robert Hamilton (Ethiopia 1964–66) Amazon Digital $.99 (Kindle) 356 pages October 2012 • In the Valley of Atibon (Memoir) by Leita Kaldi (Senegal 1993–96) Peace Corps Writers $20.00 (paperback) 272 pages November 2012 • The Beach at Galle Road: Stories from Sri Lanka by Joanna Luloff (Sri Lanka 1996–98) Algonquin Books $22.95 (hardcover); $11.99 (Kindle) 278 September, 2012 • Road Scatter: . . .

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U.S News & World Report: How the Peace Corps Benefits Diplomatic Security

By Robert Nolan (Zimbabwe ) How the Peace Corps Benefits Diplomatic Security Robert Nolan is an editor at the Foreign Policy Association and producer of the Great Decisions in Foreign Policy television series on PBS. You can follow him on Twitter @robert_nolan. As a young Peace Corps volunteer in Zimbabwe during the late 1990s, my colleagues and I used to joke that we had a much deeper understanding of politics in the southern African country than the American ambassador posted in Harare. Living in rural communities among average Zimbabweans, we were often privy to late night political discussions around a shared “scud” of Chibuku, (a local beer named after the missiles used in the 1991 Gulf War), during lunch breaks at the secondary schools where many of us taught or while traveling between the countryside and the capital on unreliable buses. Trusting Zimbabweans might chat with us about an uptick . . .

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Review of Roland Merullo's (Micronesia 1979-80) Lunch with Buddha

Lunch with Buddha Roland Merullo (Micronesia 1979-80) AJAR Contemporaries 347 Pages Paperback $16.85 2012 Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000-02, Madagascar 2002-03) GOD COMES IN MANY FORMS, so the saying goes, and in Roland Merullo’s latest offering, Lunch with Buddha, the “ultimate” is packaged in the guise of a burly, aging Russian Buddhist monk, Volya Rinpoche, who looks like a sun-burnished field peasant and behaves like a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, only dressed here in a monk’s robe and wandering the American highway. I must confess to not having read this novel’s precursor, Breakfast with Buddha, nor obviously the Dinner with Buddha that is certain to follow. Merullo seems to be striving for nothing less in this series than to lay the literary foundation of his own religion, a hybrid East-meets-West catchall to be named “Buddhianitry” or “Christian-Buddhism”; Volya Rinpoche hasn’t yet decided. The novel ends with . . .

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Coyne Babbles On TV About Christmas In The Peace Corps

Doug Kiker was from Griffin, Georgia and had early success as a short story writer while still a student at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, majoring in English. There’s a story about how he wanted to get published and he picked up Martha Foley’s short stories collection, went to the rear of the book and found the list of short-story publishers, closed his eyes and punched in the dark. He hit the Yale Review, to which he promptly submitted a short story. And they accepted his story. While still in college he worked as a reporter, covering the Senate race between Strom Thurmond and Olin Johnston. After college he joined the navy and was commissioned an Ensign, serving in Korean War. Discharged, he returned to Atlanta and worked at the Atlanta Journal and covered the first sit-ins at lunch counters in North Carolina. Out of that experience came his . . .

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A new name in the Peace Corps Director sweepstakes!

Another name is floating around PC/HQ in the “who will be the next Peace Corps Director” Sweepstakes. It is the current Peace Corps Country Director  in Swaziland, Steve Driehaus. Steve was, and this is important to us, a PCV in Senegal from 1988 to ’90. After his tour in Senegal he went to work on the Hill as the Legislative Aide for Congressman Charles Luken, then was the Chief Legislative Aide for Council Member, Todd Portrune. He left Washington and returned to the mid-west and became the Assistant Director, Center for International Education and Development Assistance, at Indiana University for a couple years. (The guy moves around a lot.) While in this job, he coordinated the South African Internship Program sponsored by USIA that became the largest professional exchange program between the United States and South Africa. And along the way he picked up a Master of Public Administration from Indiana University. . . .

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Mark Gearan, Former PC/D, Signs College Presidents Letter For Stricter Gun Laws

Mark D. Gearan, President of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate New York and the former Director of the Peace Corps (1995-99), was one of more than 160 presidents to sign an open letter to U.S. policy makers in the wake of last week’s shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown calling for stricter gun laws. The college presidents signed an open letter to U.S. policy makers that was drafted by the leaders of two Georgia schools, Lawrence M. Schall, president of Oglethorpe University, and Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott College. The letter calls for: Ensuring the safety of college communities by opposing legislation allowing guns on campuses and in classrooms Ending the gun show loophole, which allows for the purchase of guns from unlicensed sellers without a criminal background check Reinstating the ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons along with high-capacity ammunition magazines Requiring consumer safety . . .

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Next Peace Corps Director Sweepstakes!

One of the first hands to be raised asking to be appointed “The Next Peace Corps Director” is that of Carolyn Long (Gabon 1963-65) who, years ago when I first knew her, worked for TransCentury, a non-profit company started in the mid-sixties by Warren Wiggins, one of the original Mad Men of the agency, and Dick Irish (Philippines 1962–64). Carolyn has had a long career in international work. For many years she was the manager of  InterAction, and today she is listed as Director, Global Partnership on their site, and travels around the world evaluating and advising on NGOs. InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), with more than 190 members working in every developing country.  Members are faith-based and secular, large and small, with a focus on the world’s most poor and vulnerable populations. Carolyn has not been active with the RPCVs in D.C. or involved with the NPCA or the Peace Corps. She . . .

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Secretary of State & Friend of The Peace Corps

The  independent review of the September 11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was released today and cited “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” at the State Department. The  attacks killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador and Morocco RPCV, Chris Stevens. The report says something like the security plan was “inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.” In the next few days, everyone will be jumping all over Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, so I thought I might reach back in time a few years and quote from a short speech that the then First Lady gave on September 1998 dedication of the Peace Corps Building and Shriver Hall. A few of you were there, and, of course, many of you weren’t. At the ceremony, the First Lady was introduced by the Peace Corps Director, Mark Gearan, who said, among other things, . . .

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